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Is a Bad Result Automatically Medical Malpractice?

When you visit your family doctor or you are taken to the emergency room, you expect that your medical needs will be taken care of but you also assume that the medical professionals taking care of you will not cause you more harm. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Due to the negligence, carelessness or recklessness of medical providers, patients suffer severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries and complications. When medical professionals fail to adhere the professional standard of care for your particular situation, then you may have a medical malpractice case. However, is a bad result enough to prove medical malpractice?

A bad mistake is not enough to justify a medical malpractice case. It is assumed that there will sometimes be bad results because of the inherent risk of having any medical procedure or taking any prescription medicine. Unfortunately, even modern medicine cannot cure every patient and, in those cases, the patient may suffer a bad result.

For example, a patient is rushed to the hospital because he is involved in an automobile accident and suffers internal injuries. The doctors and nurses work diligently and do everything within their power to stop the internal bleeding and repair the damage; however, the injuries are too severe and nothing can be done to prevent the patient from dying. Even though the patient died, this does not mean that the staff is guilty of medical malpractice. If the staff acted within the prescribed standard of care when treating this patient, then you would not have a case for medical malpractice. There must be negligence on the part of the medical provider that caused the injury or death to the patient for medical malpractice to exist.

What Is The Standard Of Care?

The medical standard of care is a legal term that defines the caution that a reasonable medical professional in a similar circumstance would exercise in providing care to the patient. In other words, it is the care that another patient would have been provided by another medical professional given the same circumstances. Examples of medical malpractice where a breach of the standard of care may occur include:

  • Surgical errors
  • Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose
  • Medical errors including administering the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Childbirth errors
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient or an incorrect surgery site
Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases

The standard of care is a very important element in medical malpractice cases. A patient has a right to expect a certain level of care from medical providers. When a medical provider fails to act in a manner consistent with how other medical providers would act in a similar situation, he has breached the standard of care. If the medical provider was negligent when he breached the standard of care and that breach caused injury to the patient, then you have a case of medical malpractice.